Enigmatic Juan Nicasio (9-9, 5.14) had his “teaser” stuff going, stifling the Los Angeles Dodgers for 5-1/3 innings with 7 strike-outs as the Colorado Rockies defeated LA 1-0 Saturday night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. It took two relievers to get him out of the 6th after he threw 103 pitches, and three more in each of the last 3 innings, for a “staff win” that preserved a run on a two-out double by Nolan Arenado.
Zach Greinke (15-4, 2.63) did his part for the Dodgers. He limited the Rockies to the single 4th inning run. Greinke also struck-out 7 on 4 hits in 6 innings. Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez and Brian Wilson delivered shutout frames in relief.
Troy Tulowitzki doubled down the left-field line with one out in the 4th. After Todd Helton struck-out, Arenado blooped a soft fly ball in front of and to the right of diving LA center-fielder Skip Schumaker. The dive failed and the ball got behind Schumaker as Tulowitzki, who’s drive was also weakly struck (but perfectly placed), trotted to the plate.
Nicasio backed the run up with a 1-2-3 5th, then AJ Ellis took 1st-base with one out in the 6th on a boot by the Bean, Jonny Herrera. Hanley Ramirez followed with a single and Colorado manager Walt Weiss took the ball from Nicasio in favor of lefty Josh Outman versus Adrian Gonzalez. Outman was no help, walking Gonzalez on 4 pitches. Weiss turned to Adam Ottavino to face right-handed hitters Juan Uribe and Scott Van Slyke. Ottavino was money, getting Uribe to pop-up and a fly ball from Van Slyke.
A rested Matt Belisle handled the 7th, striking out Michael Young and the stupendous Yasiel Puig. Chad Bettis got Schumaker and Eliis to open the 8th, then walked Hanley Ramirez, provoking Weiss to again go to his lefty, Rex Brothers, against Gonzalez. Brothers got a grounder to Herrera.
Brothers walked Uribe leading off the 9th, then knuckled-down, striking-out Van Slyke, getting a fly to right from Michael Young, and a grounder to Herrera from Mark Ellis for the 4-out save.
The Rockies will wrap-up 2013 later today in a 2:10 pm MDT start against the Dodgers, who’ll begin their play-off run Thursday evening, at Dodger Stadium. Jeff Francis (2-5, 6.61) goes for Colorado against Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-7, 2.97) of Los Angeles.